Lillian K. Steponaitis (MCP ’14) examined community-based organizations, in which success is based not only on the services they offer, but also their more intangible networks of trust, robust local relationships, and on-the-ground knowledge of community needs. As local organizations grow and seek to replicate themselves, the question of local trust and participation, the very basis of their legitimacy, is sometimes challenged.
In his thesis Fizzah Sajjad (MCP '14) asks how opportunities emerge for states in the Global South to undertake large-scale spending on public transport, particularly in cases where they have previously withdrawn from its provision. In recent years, such opportunities have emerged in the form of mass transit mega-projects, particularly Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) mega-projects.
Laura Andreae Martin (MCP '14) focuses on cooperation projects rooted in cultural ties which are receiving unprecedented attention from the international development community. When and how culture practically matters to development has not been thoroughly explored within urban planning. Her thesis examines whether, when, and how cultural affinities matter for the successful design, management, and implementation of urban planning projects in the global South with international partnerships.
This past spring semester Professor Amy Glasmeier taught her new course Geography of the Global Economy Systems in Transition: Russia, China and the U.S. The course is part of the newly launched Skoltech curriculum which is a collaboration with Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology.
Students in 11.438 Economic Development Planning developed components of Rhode Island's new state economic development plan prepared as part of a HUD Sustainable Communities Plan. The plan includes: (1) recommendations to improve the use of state property tax inceentives; (2) plan to improve and scale entrepreneurial development services for minority, low-income and low-income enterpreneurs; and (3) a state initiative to diversify the state's ship and boat-building industry.
Francisco Humeres (MCP ’14) focused on Power Centrality as a method for measuring a particular feedback property: How well connected are places to other well connected places. In this research Power Centrality is used to assess a recent model of Urban Structure; The Splintering Urbanism Theory of Graham and Marvin (2001). This theory posits that the contemporary city is a fragmented agglomeration of isolated urban pieces where distant but valuable fragments are highly connected between them, bypassing their less valuable surroundings.
In her thesis, Amalia R. Holub (MCP '14) explores the feasibility of creating a street-level air quality map, whereby cyclists gather data through a participatory sensing process as they ride around the city. Two primary areas were studied: the state of the technology for portable air quality monitors, and the likelihood of cyclist participation in gathering data. Amalia conducted experiments in Singapore and Mexico City to determine whether a small, relatively inexpensive monitor can gauge variation in concentrations according to distance from traffic and route choice.
Dayna Cunningham, Executive Director of the Community Innovators Lab (CoLab), recently wrote an article for The Architectural League of New York titled, Five Thousand Pound Democracy: Citizenship and Governance for a Five Thousand Pound Life.
Most urban planning literature suggests that compact and mixed-use neighborhoods correlate with lower vehicle kilometers traveled (VKT), and accordingly, lower energy consumption and transportation-related emissions. In her thesis, Veronica Hannan examined the daily travel behavior in Santiago de Chile to understand how demographic structure, neighborhood design, and regional accessibility influence travel behavior as measured through emitted grams of five criteria pollutants (CO2, VOCs, PM10, CO and NO).
Emily Eros (MCP '14) studied the growing ubiquity of affordable mobile phones and internet-capable devices and how some developing cities are collecting and compiling this data. Her thesis uses a 2013 data collection project to explore the potential impacts of transportation information on microbus regulators, owners/operators, and users. Her findings suggest that increased static information may increase government power with respect to microbus operators, particularly during franchising negotiations, but that it may offer limited benefits to users.